I planned to drive to Mount Graham and do that climb but that is 2.5 miles away with no water anywhere near or at the top and then I began thinking, why sit in a car for 5+ hours when Mount Lemmon is right around the corner. So, I headed up and noticed I was pedaling comfortably in sprockets two sizes larger than the last time I rode about 2 weeks ago.. Hmmmm. I seemed to be flying up the mountain and how about that? Beat my best average by 1.1mph. I stopped to eat at the restaurant in Summerhaven.
Lots of grey headed people here who glanced at me as if I was a space alien although I had a nice chat with a couple from Iowa. The surrounding slopes show rebuilt cabins from the Aspen fire of 2003. Odd that the burned tress are still standing but lots of smaller ones growing skyward. I headed back and reached the left turn toward Ski Valley and it was as if a hand was pushing me and so....
...I headed toward the slopes bereft of snow and after almost 2 more very steep miles, reached the ski area with the Iron Door Restaurant, at which I have previously eaten. I paused, looked around and oh my......
.....the gate to the observatory was now open. What to do, what to do? I had come this far so what the heck, I chugged on up what was even steeper than what I had already ridden. The grade was 8-11% for another 1.5 miles and after so much climbing, well, actually it was not too hard. I think 6 weeks of climbing on trails and the road has had the desired effect albeit climbing slowly.
At 9000'+ elevation, the views? Oh my, oh my. From the base of the mountain, I had gone up Green Mountain, Mount Bigelow and then Mount Lemmon to....
....the Sky Center Observatory and there is the loyal bike to prove it. From the base of the climb I had come 28 miles, slightly less than 8000' of climbing. The temperature in the valley was 94 but up here, around 65 and nice. I coasted down and finished with 64 miles and 8400' of climbing. Time to pack my bike into the box and send back to Ohio so got that done and now, one more hike along a snake infested trail. More to come soon.
Mark is a long-time cyclist who enjoys poking fun at himself but most especially at his friends. No nicknames or comments are intended to offend, accept them in the humor they are intended.